UBS AG has poached a U.S. team of some 15 oil and gas investment bankers from Bank of Montreal (BMO), significantly weakening the energy deal-making capacity at Canada’s fourth-largest bank, people familiar with the matter said.
The moves come amid plummeting oil prices that have prompted banks to try to lure talented energy bankers with deep technical expertise. Such bankers can help them win new investment banking business from companies that want to shed assets.
The investment banking business in the oil and gas sector has shifted as lower oil prices weigh on the companies’ growth prospects. The business is no longer focused on initial public offerings, and now primarily involves advising companies on deals to raise cash as their earnings dwindle.
Those leaving BMO are part of a specialist group dubbed Acquisitions & Divestitures (A&D), the people said this week. This group carries out the complex engineering and technical research needed to value oil and gas deposits far beneath the earth’s surface.
The leader of that BMO team, Miles Redfield, is based in Houston, Texas, where he will remain as he also takes on a senior role at UBS, the people added.
UBS declined to comment. Redfield could not be reached for comment. The people asked not to be named as the discussions were not public.
In an emailed statement, BMO confirmed that there have been departures from the A&D group but did not provide any details.
BMO is a powerhouse in the global mining arena, but it advised on just a handful of oil and gas transactions in the U.S. market in 2013 and 2014, according to Thomson Reuters data. The data also shows that BMO’s market share in the U.S. market in this sector is a fraction of that of its larger rivals.